House probe into MRT3 accident sought
MANILA, Philippines – It's the House of Representatives' turn to seek an investigation into the Wednesday, August 13 accident that caused a Metro Rail Transit (MRT3) coach to derail and injure at least 36 passengers.
Kabataan Representatives Terry Ridon on Monday, August 18, filed House Resolution 1387 to probe the MRT3 mishap, as well as look into "possible criminal liabilities" of the operators, including the Department of Transportation and Communications, the MRT Corporation and private maintenance contractors.
“The incident exposed the perennial threat that the beat up state of the MRT 3 poses to half a million Filipinos who ride it every day,” Ridon said.
Shortly after the accident, the government launched its own investigation to determine whether technical or human error caused the train to go off the rails and bulldoze its safety barriers.
Senators have also called for their own probe not just to look into the mishap but also to assess the state of the country's mass transport system.
Over 580,000 passengers ride the MRT3 every day – a number that is well beyond the system's "designed capacity of 360,000 passengers a day and "crush capacity" of 500,000 passengers a day.
The accident comes in the midst of deliberations on the proposed 2015 budget in Congress. DOTC is seeking a P6.6 billion allocation for MRT3 out of its proposed P52.9 billion budget for 2015.
Of the proposed MRT3 funding, P1.92 billion will go to operation and maintenance while P4.66 billion will go to state subsidy.
“DOTC as the operator of the MRT3 and the MRT Corporation and APT Global and former maintenance contractors should be held liable for the poor maintenance of the MRT 3. The MRT 3 as a public transport must uphold the public’s interest for quality, safe, and reliable mass transit system. Congress must therefore act and determine whether parties involved in the operations and functions of the MRT3 committed criminal liability and neglect of duty,” Ridon said. - Angela Casauay/Rappler.com